One Word Mantras

Breakfast first, then some mantra talk!

pancakes with almond butter

This morning I made a batch of honey whole wheat pancakes, but stirred some almond butter into the batter for a little extra flavor.

almond butter pancakes

Topped with syrup and slivered almonds!

One Word Mantras

This morning, during my five mile treadmill run at the gym, I watched as the weatherman detailed the forecast for the coming week. Temperatures in Central Florida are expected to hit 80 degrees (and above) every single day.

My mind immediately skipped ahead to my half marathon next Saturday. What if the weather is still so warm? I started to think about my experience at the Women’s Half Marathon in St. Pete when the heat really got to me about halfway through the race. I remember feeling incredibly overheated and my mind got into a funk and couldn’t shake it.

women's half marathon st. pete florida

I’ve been lucky with the weather during my long runs for the past few weeks. My eight miler was hot, but during my 9, 10 and 11 mile runs, the temperatures were in the 50s or 60s which was perfect. I started thinking about how my body probably feels used to running longer distances in cooler weather and psyched myself out as I ran today. I let other negative thoughts creep into my mind.

I want to run next Saturday’s half marathon and feel strong. I know heat and thick, humid air drain my energy quickly, but I think one of the biggest hurdles I faced during the Women’s Half Marathon was my mind.

Rule your mind or it will rule you, right?

Once I got it into my mind that I was hot and tired, that’s all I could think about. I focused on feeling defeated and that is obviously no way to invigorate a run.

Last month Theodora wrote a blog post about the power of running mantras. Her therapist encouraged her to explore using a one-word mantra during her runs. Theodora chose “speed.”

I often use music as a way to break through mental funks during long runs. In addition to filling my iPod with upbeat music, I’m going to try Theodora’s tactic and focus on a one-word running mantra during my half marathon if I feel negative thoughts creeping in.

My word? StrengthI feel confident in my ability to finish the half marathon. I’ve followed my training plan. I’ve run four half marathons before and know I can finish, but I want to really enjoy this race and keep my mind in a good place during all 13.1 miles. I know many things influence a runner’s attitude, but hopefully calling upon the word “strength” during my run will help me remember that my body is strong and my mind needs to be strong, too.

Question of the Morning

  • If you were to use a one-word mantra to motivate yourself during a race or other fitness challenge, what word would you choose?


  1. Jenny says


    My RoadID say “run like you love it” because training can be so hard. I try to always remember that I am out there because I love the feeling of my heartbeat, the sweat on my forehead, my feet pounding the pavement, and the joy of accomplishment. I truly “LOVE” to run!


  2. Carrie says

    I always thought you’d be a great mentor/pace runner for first time runners : ) When I first started running 5 years ago at the age of 29, my mentor/pace runner would always say “let’s rock and roll!” when we started to slow our pace cause we were getting tired. It’s always stuck with me and makes me smile everytime I say it now (in my head, of course!).


  3. Stephanie says


    Knees up. Chin up. Head up. Upbeat. It fits for so many of the low points that I might hit during a run. Chin up when I’m starting to drag. Head up when I’m on a hill. Knees up helps remind me to run with good form and helps my speed. Upbeat tempos for speed.

    And I try not to think about Pixar’s movie because crying while running does not work.



  4. Doll says

    I am about to run my first half marathon for charity this August. I have run several 5ks and one 10k without stopping and I’m using a run/walk method (4 mins, 1 min) for the half. I am still very worried. It has lately felt VERY difficult to run and I’m worried that I may have bitten off more than I can chew. I have been seriously training for two months and have another almost three months before the race. I came across your page and have enjoyed it very much. Thank you for your mantras and advice. It’s nice to hear REAL accounts of people who have accomplished what I’m trying to do rather than a lot of technical advice (which is helpful as well, but not when you’re just feeling down).



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